Indonesia's Ruth Theresia is the new points leader in the women's Asia Trail Master championship after scoring her third race win of the season at Ijen Trailrunning in Sempol, Bondowoso, East Java. It didn't come easy. Shindy Patricia looked like having the victory all wrapped up, until Theresia came back in the final kilometres. The two leading ladies of the Indonesian trail scene then sprinted for the win. An amazing conclusion to a 100k race, and arguably also a symbolic one: Patricia was last year's Indonesia Trail Champion, but this year Ruth Theresia seems to have taken over. With 2020 ATM Championship points in 4 races, she now leads the standings at the expense of Cheryl Bihag, who also sees Lily Suryani overtaking her. Both Bihag and Suryani already completed 5 races this season. Last year's champion Tahira Najmunisaa has three races so far. The best five results count at the end of the year.
Ijen Trailrunning offers one of the most beautiful trail courses of the year with the impressive Ijen volcano crater as the centre point of the race. The weather conditions were unusually cool at the nighttime start of both the 100k and 70k races, which was of course pleasant for the participants. While Shindy Patricia had the best start in the women's, local running star Yohanis Hiareij put the hammer down in the men's 100k. Hiareij finished second in a close finish with Arief Wismoyono at Ijen last season, and was determined to win this time around. Having notched up places of honour at Tahura Trail and Coast To Coast Night Trail, he was keen to take his first ever major race win. But alas, as with the women's race, and just like last week in Penang Eco, the race is not over until it is over. Hiareij was in control for over 90 km, and then Central Java's dark horse Dzaki Wardana ran up to him. Wardana is known to mix stellar results with average ones, but at Ijen he clearly felt great. Wardana caught Hiareij and dropped him to win his first career ATM race! At the finish the difference was about ten minutes. His race time was just under 17 hours for the 100k and 4200 hm. Vincent Chalias from France looked set to gain third place, but in the end Sam Samides took it.
The field of participants on the men's 70k on paper looked even stronger. With this year's new regulations, each Grandmaster distance race offers the same championship performance points. All eyes were set on Grandmaster Jan Nilsen, making his comeback from injury, and Spain's Pablo Diago Gonzales, king of Mount Apo on Mindanao last month. Before the start, there was a third runner popping up who could spoil the party for both established runners: Indonesia's Ari Masrudi, second at Tahura Trail in January ahead of Wismoyono, Dessy, Hiareij and others, is a roadrunner looking to find his way on the trail. Ijen 70 was his first 70k ever. In the race, Gonzales went to the front quickly and coming down from the volcano crater had a gap of approx ten minutes on Jan Nilsen, who did very well in his first race in 2,5 months. Gonzales kept the advantage until the finish. Masrudi followed with Philippines' Jared Tevis closely behind in fourth place. The latter duo would change places later on, making it an interesting non-indonesia podium for the 70k race.
In the women's 70k, Switzerland's well-known and very experienced Katja Fink proved to be the fastest. Fink led from start to finish. Grandmaster Ina Budiyarni was in second for over three quarters of the race until hydration issues slowed her down to see Elisabeth Perez (USA) come past with 13k to go and grab second at the finish.